EP Review – Jockeys of Love by TOELDO (2021) (Telefono Records)

tOLEDOBAND

I’m a middle-aged man. Middled-aged men can be very forthcoming with their opinions. It’s because we are now comfortable with what and who we consider idiotic. It’s a semi-permanent state of grumpy, accentuated by declining testosterone.
One of my ‘grumpinions’, that I regularly offered during wave one of the worlds various lockdowns was jus how awful, maudling and self obsessed, ‘lockdown music’ was. Now, multiple waves, later I realize just how wrong that was as more and more music from the period seaps into the public domain.
This unexpected release by New York duo, Jordan Dunn-Pilz and Daniel Alvarez, shows the benefit of allowing ‘pandemic times’ to brew, pass, stagnate, change and eventually start again, as such a process enables the music to benefit from the experience fully.
Such retrospective reflection is the complete antithesis of the wallowing ‘oh woe is me’ music, release digitally at the first wave height, which just felt nothing more than a banal, cathartic exercise, muchof the time.
As such, this EP has prevalent themes that may not be exclusive to the COVID era, but, on reflection, may well have been exacerbated by them. Thus tales of heartbreak, toxic relationships, anxiety, alcholism and depression, are all aired with an intimacy and lyrical expression that is so intensely Toledo.
These dominant thematics are somewhat disguised, but ultimately accentuated, as Toledo prove them selves master of telling nasty little stories in the most beautiful and innapropriate of ways. It’s an oft used Belle and Sebastian style musical gambit, but one that can totally augment an aesthetic if employed by the right act.
As such we see the lo-fi, hushed, jangly folktronica of It’s Alive and Dog Has it’s Day, visit the laconic, beautifully sad music of the likes of Elliot Smith, Withered Hand and Big Thief, whereas tracks such as Challenger and You Won’t, provide the same aura withIN more uptempo, lo-fi rock vibes, that threaten to provide a more natural home to the constant melodic intent.
This EP merely confirmS Toledo’s ‘beautiful’ default mode.

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